Professor William Ian McDonald in Queen Square and overseas

Record information

Title: Professor William Ian McDonald in Queen Square and overseas

Reference: QSA/19631

Date: Approx 1 Jan 1993 to 31 Dec 2004

Description: Six minute colour film of Professor McDonald talking about MS and drug treatments in 1993, attending a Queen Square Alumnus' wedding in Brazil in 1994, and visiting Yerevan as a guest of the Russian Neurological Association in 2004, including Professor Evgeni Ivanovich Gusev presenting an award to Professor McDonald.

Creator: Compiled by and captions created by Professor Andrew Lees

Storage Reference: Online only

Acquisition: A gift to the Archives from Professor Andrew Lees


William Ian McDonald (1933-2006) was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and graduated in medicine from the University of Otago in 1957.

He worked first as research officer of the New Zealand Medical Research Council with Archie Macintyre, obtaining his PhD on ‘The Effects of Experimental Demyelination on Conduction in Peripheral Nerve: A Histological and Electrophysiological Study’ (1962), having already written a dissertation on ‘Ascending Long Spinal Reflexes’ (1955).

After proleptic appointment as consultant neurologist to the National Hospital in 1966, McDonald worked for three years on muscle spindles in Boston with Denny-Brown, and then as consultant neurologist at Queen Square and Maida Vale Hospital, consultant physician at Moorfields Eye Hospital from 1969, and professor of neurology in the University of London from 1974.

Working at that time with Tom Sears, McDonald characterised the physiology and morphology of demyelination and remyelination in the central nervous system. In the 1970s, with Halliday, he pioneered the use of evoked potentials, bringing objectivity to the diagnosis of demyelinating disease. In the 1980s, McDonald realised that magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy could be used to illuminate the nature of inflammatory brain disease, and his work provided laboratory measures for charting the efficacy of the first wave of disease-modifying treatments for multiple sclerosis introduced in the mid-1990s.

McDonald co-founded the European Neurological Society and served as its president (1994–5), and as president of the Association of British Neurologists (1994–5). Among many international prizes was the Charcot Award of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies (1991), and McDonald was particularly pleased to be elected Foreign Member of the Venetian Institute of Science, Arts and Letters. McDonald edited Brain from 1991 to 1997

Keywords: Individuals, McDonald William Ian, People, Sources, Video and Film

Compilations: Film footage

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